Red Light Camera Fee Increase Ruled Unconstitutional

A recent administrative fee added by Suffolk County onto red light camera charges has been ruled unconstitutional by a state Supreme Court justice. Red light cameras have long been an area of contention due to both their proliferation and their debatable legality. This decision is a victory for those who advocate against the cameras, although it merely reduces their cost in Suffolk County, rather than eliminating them entirely.

Red light cameras are a kind of camera placed at stoplights, typically at busy intersections, which take a photograph of a car anytime someone passes through a red light illegally. The picture is then able to identify the car based on its appearance and the car’s license plate, with a ticket then sent to the address registered to the car’s owner. Ostensibly, these cameras are intended to dissuade traffic violations when there are no police around to catch people speeding or making illegal turns, but their real popularity has more to do with the extra revenue they bring in for local governments from traffic fines.

While red light cameras are set up by local municipalities, the laws regulating red light camera fines are passed at the state level, not the local level. Nevertheless, Suffolk County attempted to pass an additional $30 administrative fee on top of the $50 already charged for violations recorded by red light cameras. This resulted in a lawsuit against the County, which has ended in their defeat.

In his decision, the state Supreme Court Justice found the County’s imposition of the administrative fee to be unconstitutional as a matter of law. He noted that New York’s red-light camera program explicitly precludes the county from charging more money to offenders than is prescribed by state law, and the fact that they called it an administrative fee does not get around that restriction. That said, the case is not yet over, with the County promising to appeal the judge’s decision.

Seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with being involved in a pedestrian or motor vehicle accident. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York pedestrian and auto accident lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.

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